DeAnn demonstrated the saran wrap background technique today.
• 8 ½ x 11 sheets of Arches Text Wove
• Saran Wrap or similar plastic wrap (whatever you use at home)
• Watercolors, gouache, colored ink, including metallic; acrylic inks also OK
• Large brush, at least 1-inch, or sponge brush. Doesn’t have to be a good brush, painter’s brush (e.g. synthetic wash brush http://www.dickblick.com/items/06263-1001/ or flat brush http://www.dickblick.com/items/05158-1001/)
• 2 water containers (for clean/dirty water)
• Spray bottle
• Extra paper for more practice – should be cover weight absorbent paper with some texture for best results. (Sundance paper from Kelly Paper works well)
Setting up your workspace to work with watercolors: Have 2 containers of water – one is for dirty, one is for clean. When changing colors, you’ll be rinsing your brush first in the “dirty” container, then in the “clean” water to ensure no color contamination. Change the water as needed when it gets too dirty. Add a few drops of water to the watercolor pans you’ll be using to hydrate them. Use the lids of the watercolor set as your palette. Soften the pan with a couple drops of water, then put the colors you want to use in a clean palette space and add drops of water to thin the watercolor to an ink consistency.
Paint on wet medium: watercolor will flow wherever it’s wet on the paper and stop when it encounters dry paper. Creating a saran wrap background on wet paper will be subtly different from painting on dry paper, mostly in the edges. First, spray both sides of the paper with the spray bottle. This relaxes the paper and prevents it from curling. Make sure the whole sheet is evenly wet.
Start painting with your first color – notice that the watercolor will spread on its own since the paper is already wet. Use lots of water and paint where you want.
If you want, add a second color in a different location. You can blend them if you want, or just paint near each other. Add more colors if desired. Spritz the paper with the spray bottle if it’s drying.
Once you’re satisfied with the colors, take a piece of plastic wrap (it should be larger than the page) and place it on top of your watercolored paper. You want some wrinkles in it, so if it’s flattened against the wet paper, smoosh the plastic wrap toward the center or lift it up and crinkle it slightly as you lay it back down.
If the watercolor isn’t moving, you don’t have enough water. Spritz with the spray bottle, or drop some water in strategic places. Lift the page and hold it up vertically so that the watercolor flows in the wrinkles of the plastic wrap.
Change directions so the colors blend and watercolor flows in different directions. Put aside to dry on newspaper so it’ll soak up any excess moisture. Once it’s dry, peel off the plastic wrap and you should see a crystallized look.
Paint on dry medium: You can also do the saran wrap method without wetting the paper beforehand. Using a lot of water, paint as desired on the dry paper. Notice how the watercolor will pool and not spread across the page. Don’t paint all the way to the edges.
Once you’re satisfied with your watercolor placement, put a piece of plastic wrap on top of the page. Make sure your watercolor is wet enough to move.
Once again, hold up the page in different directions so that the watercolor will spread through the crinkles in the plastic wrap. Notice how it’ll travel across the wet-dry boundary along the wrinkles.